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10. Giving oral rehydration solution (ORS)

10. Giving oral rehydration solution (ORS)

Last update: 2022-09-14


  • Oral rehydration solution (ORS) is the first step in treating people who are suffering from diarrhoea and dehydration. 

  • If a patient has no signs of dehydration or signs of mild dehydration (see Action tool Assessment of dehydration), he or she can be treated at home.

For NO signs of dehydration

  • Demonstrate how to prepare and give ORS. 
  • The caregiver should give the amount of ORS indicated in the table below.
Age Amount of ORS after each loose stool ORS packets needed
Less than 24 months  50-100 ml (¼ – ½ cup) 1 packet/day
2-9 years 100–200 ml (½ – 1 cup) 1 packet/day
10 years or more As much as wanted 1 packet/day

Where there are SOME signs of dehydration

  •  Give the recommended amount of ORS (measure against either the patient’s age or weight). 
  • If the patient passes watery stools or wants more ORS than shown in the table above, give more. 
  • If the patient does not improve or some of the signs of severe dehydration appear, refer the patient to a health facility (see Action tool Referral to health facilities).
Age Less than 4 months 4-11 months 12-23 months 2-4 years 5-14 years 15 years or older
Weight Less than 5 kg 5-7.9 kg 8-10.9 kg 11-15.9 kg 16-22.9 kg 30 kg or more
Oral solution in ml 200-400 (1-2 cups) 400-600 (2-3 cups) 600-800 (3-4 cups) 800-1200 (4-6 cups) 1200-2200 (6-11 cups)

2200-4000 (11-20 cups)

How to give ORS

It is important to teach mothers and caregivers to administer ORS to children correctly, to help the child get better and prevent the epidemic from spreading. 

  1. To a child that is under two years of age, give one teaspoonful every one to two minutes. 
  2. To an older child, give frequent sips from a cup. 
  3. If the child vomits, wait 10 minutes and then offer the solution again, more slowly. 
  4. If diarrhoea continues after the ORS packets are used up, give home remedies until you get more ORS packets.
  5. Give the child as much clean water as he or she can drink. 
  6. Continue to assess dehydration and refer the child to a clinic if he or she gets worse or does not improve after a few hours.
Giving ORS
Giving ORS to a child and to an adult